Cover Reveal

I am a ridiculously proud Mommy today. The new cover for Nightwalker A Leah Wolfe Sins Novel was created by my very own daughter, Cheyenne Print! Nightwalker will be re-released on Amazon for both Kindle and print versions. So, what do you think of the new cover?

Nightwalker (4)

Let’s put the party together!

2017-06-25 14.11.59A good idea,  in my opinion, is to keep things individually wrapped. It not only eliminates many hands in the chip bowl  but deters flies (if it’s an outside event) and makes set up and clean up much easier. You can find individually wrapped candy, chips, utensils  labels, thank you cards, personalized water bottles, cupcakes, permanent markers to label your drink cups Add a few plastic containers, I get mine from the local big box or dollar store, and arrange it where you need it. As a bonus, most of these things can be ordered online saving time, gas and stress. Be sure to put out an extra trash can or two so guests don’t have to wonder where to put their wrappers.

 

 

 

Cakes or Cupcakes?

Let’s face it, both are amazing, but I can’t be the only one left with half a sheet cake after a party. Then it’s trying to find space for the leftovers in the refrigerator! So for my gatherings, I try to do cupcakes. I can mix and match flavors and they can be decorated for any occasion. Pair them with individual ice cream cups and you’re good to go. For touch free serving, stick a fork in the top of each cupcake.

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Store bought cupcakes are easier for guests to eat and can be decorated for the theme of the party. A time saver for the host too!

Don’t forget the Thank You’s!

Place a small pencil holder on a table with return envelopes. Ask guests to fill out an envelope with their name and address and you won’t be hunting for addresses when it’s time to send the Thank You cards. Nothing left to do but add those personal notes of gratitude, stamp and mail! 2017-06-25 14.12.31

Don’t forget the candy bar!

Every party needs treats and a Candy Bar is sure to please! Modify it with individually wrapped candy for safety, make a few creative labels and you’re good to go!

Dress up those drinks for occasion!

A quick idea to dress up beverages for any occasion? Personalized water bottle wraps/stickers. I got mine from Oriental Trading but a quick web search will give you plenty of options. Simply wrap them around the bottle or can of beverage of your choice for a personal touch to any event. You can also use these for a promotional event. I purchased a color coordinated plastic drink bin, from a local big box store, filled it with ice and made a nice display for a graduation party.

Even if your party has been downsized, you can keep the festivities alive with this simple, personalized idea. 2017-06-25 14.13.58

Homemade Quartz Countertop Cleaner

Hey, thanks for joining me today. I want to start this by saying that I am in no way an expert and you should always consult the manufacturers recommendations before using any cleaner. A quick note about quartz and granite though, never use abrasive cleaners on them. Abrasive cleaners, vinegar and bleach can damage them.

With that being said, I’m not an expert. I am a mom who is always looking for a bargain. Recently, I began looking for safer, more natural cleaners that are still effective. If you take a look at the back of most cleaners on the shelves today, you’ll see a long list of ingredients, most of which I can’t pronounce. And with Coronavirus spreading like wildfire, it’s not always easy to find cleaning products. I’ve done some research and tried different recipes for homemade cleaners and I’ll share them with you here. Today, we’ll start with Quartz countertop cleaner.

You’ll need:

1 clean and empty 16 ounce spray bottle

1/4 to 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol

A couple drops of dishwashing liquid

Label the clean and dry spray bottle with permanent marker. I also write the recipe for the cleaner on the bottle for easier refills.

Add alcohol to the bottle, fill with water and put two drops of dishwashing liquid. Seal the bottle tightly, give it a shake and you’re ready to go.

If you prefer wipes, remove the cardboard core from a roll of paper towels, place in a container with a tight cover and pour mixture over the paper towels. Pull from the center and you’re good to go.

For reusable wipes, pour the mixture over some inexpensive wash clothes. Use, wash and reuse.

Stop by again for more tips. Thank you!

Thank you for your support!

Thank you all for the support you have given me as a writer. Due to unfortunate circumstances, my books will temporarily no longer be available for purchase. I’ll hope you’ll keep checking back as I will be updating this frequently.

 

 

Need some time to yourself?

Let’s face it, the holidays are hectic. Now that the gifts have been unwrapped and the last glass of champagne toasted, you may find yourself in need of some alone time. A quiet house.

Sound like a pipe dream?

I can give you five simple words to guarantee an empty house. No, seriously, it works. Now, take a deep breath and repeat after me.

“I‘m taking down the tree.”

Like magic, the kids remember places they need to be, my husband must run errands or help a friend. Poof! Just like that, I am alone in the house. Even the dogs seem to find a place to hide.

“Just wait a minute!”, you say. “Now I have to take down the tree.”

Yes, but you do it your own way. And the faster it’s finished, the more time you have for —nothing!

First, get out the totes, boxes or whatever you keep the decorations in. Line them up, lids off. You’ll need bubble wrap for the fragile items. Let’s start with those. Line the bottom of one tote with bubble wrap, then take each individual fragile item — houses, special ornaments, etc. — wrap and place in the tote, heavy items on the bottom. If you have the individual boxes for items, store them in those then put them in the tote.

My husband buys me a new ornament every year for Christmas. He has since our first Christmas together. I keep these on an artificial tree. To store it, I leave the tree decorated, wrap the entire thing in bubble wrap then put it in a moving box large enough to accommodate it. I purchased two large boxes from U-Haul, place the tree in one, top it with another, secure it in packing tape and store it. 30+ ornaments safely secured and stored with the bonus of simply removing the box next year for instant decoration.

Next, the non-fragile items. I use a separate tote for these. Stocking hangers get stored in the stocking, then the tote.

Finally, the live tree. The star comes down and is stored with the fragile items. The remaining ornaments are ordinary round, colored bulbs. These I store in a five-gallon bucket. Yep, a bucket. Now keep in mind that I won’t cry if a few get broken from one year to the next but it rarely happens. For the lights I grab the end of a strand and pull. Let’s face it, there’s going to be pine needles on the floor anyway so if it rains a few more while taking down the lights, so what? I roll the light strands around a spool or a square of wood with a notch on each end. When the tree is empty, I drag it upright, outside through the sliding door. It’s larger than a standard door. If I’m really lucky, I get it to the door without spilling the water from the stand. Once outside, I tip it on its side to drain the water and remove the stand. Now to sweep up. I have tile floors so clean-up is a little easier, but a broom works on carpet for the first go round.

Now the final walk-through. No matter how hard I look there is always something that I’ll find in a few days. Put the lids on the totes, mark “fragile”, “Indoor”, “Christmas Villiage”, etc and the year. Next season, you know what is where for easy decorating.

It seems like a lot but taking down the decorations simply, starts with putting them up simply. I try to keep things at a lower level and only decorate the main living areas. On a good day, I can take the decorations down in an hour or two. And since I’m me, I clean while I do it. The rest of the day is mine and either way, the decorations are down, and the house is clean. And if there happens to be some leftover wine, well, I may as well make the clean-up complete.  😉

Remember, the decorations may need to get to put away, but the spirit of Christmas can live every day of the year. Smile, it’s free after all, think of at least one positive thing at the end of each day and be kind – to yourself and to others. Now, put your feet up, grab a good book and enjoy a little of the quiet time.

Lights, Lights and more Lights!

In case you haven’t figured it out, Christmas is my favorite time of year. On an ordinary day you walk, bike or drive down the street, passing homes without a notice. From Thanksgiving to the end of December you take a moment, or even make a special trip, to see the lights and decorations that line the neighborhoods. It’s more than just a tradition, its a sense of community spirit that holds a special place in my heart this time of year. People string miles of twinkling lights, yards of inflatable Santas and snowmen, Nativity scenes, Menorah’s and electric candles  for the sheer enjoyment of it. At no other time is the community as united and vibrant as the end of the calendar year. Yes, we do it for ourselves too, but if it was only a selfish move, it’d be the backyard that was decorated, wouldn’t it?

So you don’t want your home to look like the Griswold’s or put the time and expense into it. It doesn’t have to be complicated though, or expensive. Your best buys are right after the holiday when things get heavy discounts as the stores prepare for January organization. Don’t want to wait until next year? A simple strand of lights, or a battery operated candle in the window can brighten the spirit of you, your loved ones and anyone who passes by. The weather not cooperating, stringing the lights around a window on the inside shines beautifully. Or put your Christmas tree in the front window for dual duty inside/outside decorations. Get the kids involved and hang snowflakes or paper chains cut from recycled paper on a string or simply tape them to the windows. A simple wreath or sprig made from extra pine tree branches tied with a red ribbon can welcome your guests or if you have live trees, a few simple dollar store or handmade ornaments can festive them up.

However you choose to let your light shine this season, make it yours, in your own style with your own kind of happy.

What’s your holiday happy? I’d love to hear! Post it in comments.

Merry Christmas!